Daylight saving time has indeed ended, and as a result, our days have become shorter, the nights longer, and the air colder, indicating the onset of winter. Winter can be an exciting season, full of holiday cheer and cozy recipes. However, it can also be a challenging season, with changing temperatures, reduced daylight, and holiday-related stress affecting our sleep quality and duration. But the good news is that with some simple tips and tricks, you can optimize your sleep habits during the colder months and wake up refreshed and energized. So, keep reading to learn how the season change affects our sleep and discover the ten best research-backed winter sleep hacks!
The Impact of Seasonal Changes on Our Sleep
Have you ever noticed that during the winter months, it can be more difficult to get a good night’s sleep? Research has actually shown that the amount of natural light we are exposed to plays a crucial role in regulating our circadian rhythm, which affects our sleep-wake cycle. As days become shorter and our exposure to natural light diminishes, our melatonin levels can become disrupted. Peak secretion can occur at the wrong times, leading to difficulties falling asleep and waking up on time. It’s important to be aware of these effects and take steps to ensure we’re getting enough natural light, especially during the darker months.
can significantly impact our ability to get restful sleep. When the nights become colder, it can be challenging to maintain an optimal sleep environment, and this can cause disturbances in our sleep patterns. The issue is two-fold: if your bedroom is too cold, you may wake up in the middle of the night as your body struggles to maintain its ideal sleep temperature. On the other hand, turning up the heat can lead to dry and stuffy air, which can cause less restorative sleep and lead to sinus congestion or dry skin and throat. Therefore, finding a comfortable temperature that allows you to sleep peacefully through the night is essential.
The holiday season can be challenging for many people, as it introduces a lot of new stressors and disrupts our usual routines. All of this can lead to feelings of anxiety and make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. Many factors can interfere with our sleep patterns, from financial pressures to social obligations and travel stress. It’s important to be mindful of these factors and to prioritize self-care during this busy time of year.
Reduced movement during the winter months can significantly impact our sleep health and overall well-being. Cold weather often makes us more sedentary, which can increase the risk of several health conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems. Therefore, staying active during the winter months is important to maintain good sleep and overall physical and mental health.
Winter Sleep Hacks For Better Sleep
Now that we’ve delved into how winter can mess with our sleep, let’s look at some proven winter sleep tips that can help you get better sleep throughout the season.
- Adjust Your Bedroom Temp
According to research, keeping your bedroom temperature cooler, between 60-67°F, can help regulate your circadian rhythm, which promotes melatonin production and reduces restlessness during sleep. So, to wake up feeling more rested and refreshed, consider adjusting your bedroom temperature to this optimal range. It’s an easy and effective way to improve the quality of your sleep.
2. Meditation Before Bed
Pressing play on a mindfulness meditation before bed is one of the most effective ways to improve the quality of your sleep. Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation, in particular, can significantly improve sleep by reducing sleep disturbances and improving overall sleep quality. By calming the mind, reducing anxiety, and promoting relaxation, adding this simple stress-relieving sleep hack to your winter sleep regime is a no-brainer. So why not try it tonight and experience the benefits for yourself?
3. Diffuse Aromatherapy Blends
Have you been struggling to get a good night’s sleep? It’s time to try a sleep-soothing aromatherapy blend with essential oils like lavender and chamomile. Research has shown that diffusing these essential oils can improve sleep quality and reduce sleep disturbances. By creating a calming and soothing atmosphere, you may find yourself drifting off into a restful sleep more efficiently than ever before.
4. Avoid Eating Too Late at Night
Late-night eating and hefty meals that are spicy or high in fat can cause discomfort and indigestion, leading to poor sleep quality. It’s important to be mindful of timing and meal choices to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep. While not all evening snacks are bad, allowing your body sufficient time to digest your last meal before bedtime is crucial. So, avoid eating too close to bedtime and opt for lighter meals to ensure a good night’s rest.
5. Evening Yoga or Stretching Routine
Engaging in a calming evening yoga or stretching routine is not only a relaxing way to end the day but is also scientifically proven to have numerous health benefits. By slowing the heart rate, easing stress, and releasing physical tension, these mindful movements can improve sleep quality and help you feel refreshed and energized.
6. Power Down Your Devices in The Evening
If you want to get a good night’s sleep this winter, limiting your screen time before bed is important. Scrolling through Instagram, binge-watching Hulu, or finishing work from bed might seem harmless, but they can interfere with sleep. This is because the blue light emitted by electronic devices can suppress melatonin production and disrupt your circadian rhythm. So, if you want to optimize your sleep regime this winter, avoiding screen time a few hours before bed is best.
7. Stay Consistent With Your Sleep Schedule
One of the best things you can do to improve your sleep quality during the colder months is to maintain a consistent bedtime and wake time. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, people who stick to a regular sleep schedule tend to sleep better and experience fewer disruptions in their sleep. Recent research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that maintaining a consistent sleep routine can also benefit heart health by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
8. Sip on Sleepy Tea
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try some natural remedies. Herbal teas, such as chamomile, valerian root, passionflower, and lemon balm, have been shown to promote more restful sleep and can help with common sleep issues like anxiety and racing thoughts. A warm cup of honey and a splash of oat or almond milk can make for a delicious and indulgent winter sleep drink to help you get a good night’s rest.
9. Take an Epsom Salt Bath
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath before bed is a great way to relax and promote better sleep, especially during the chilly winter. Epsom salt is rich in magnesium, a mineral extensively studied for its ability to help reduce stress, improve relaxation, and enhance sleep quality. To start reaping the rewards of this bedtime practice, you only need to dissolve some Epsom salt in warm bathwater and take a soothing soak before bed.